What role does age play in divorce?
When a couple first marries, the air is filled with the hope and promise of a long and wonderful future full of happiness and perhaps a brood of children as well. In many cases that dream unfolds as planned but other times things don’t go according to the script. In fact, roughly half of all U.S. marriages end in divorce. While there is never an “ideal” time in life to go through a divorce, couples parting at older ages face a different set of circumstances.
Spending a good portion of your life with someone seems like a solid foundation that should hold up for the duration, but reality is that we see increasing numbers of older couples filing for divorce and often for the same reasons as younger people, including financial strain, infidelity, poor decisions, and a need for independence in later years. However, older couples must be prepared for an array of unique challenges.
With each passing year living with your spouse, all aspects of your life become more connected, especially in regard to finances. When it comes time to divide assets, older couples face a significant impact on financial security related to everything from retirement funds to spousal support. Let’s look closer at a few of the major financial challenges facing divorcing couples in their 50s, 60s, and even older ages.
Having to leave your home, especially one where you’ve lived for many years, is never easy. A house is typically the asset of the most financial value in a divorce and if one spouse retains the home, the other spouse must be compensated for their share. This usually happens through alimony payments or retirement funds for older couples. Familiar surroundings offer emotional security and some financial benefit such as tax deductions, but home also involves maintenance, property tax, and a mortgage which can be difficult to manage after a divorce.
Social security fine print
While divorce proceedings cannot legally divide Social Security benefits, those benefits can still suffer a blow. In a marriage of longer than 10 years and each spouse is older than age 62, an ex-spouse is allowed to collect a portion of Social Security benefits from their ex, which then becomes income in relation to spousal support.
An often contentious issue in older age divorces is retirement funds, which are typically split 50-50. Depending on the situation, loss of retirement money can be a burden and splitting of funds usually means both spouses are left with less than adequate funds. This scenario is made worse if spousal support is part of the divorce settlement.
Alimony or spousal support
If one spouse of a long-term marriage will continue receiving income, a court will almost always award alimony to the other spouse. Alimony amounts and duration can be modified later but older age couples can expect it to be a significant element of the divorce proceedings.
For more information on the role of age in divorce, contact The Gucciardo Law Firm today at (248) 723-5190.
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